Take It Easy with Air Plants

Create a miniature winter garden with ethereal air plants—no soil required!
Story by Gene B. Bussell

Now is an ideal time to try air plants (Tillandsia sp.). These easy tropicals love warmth, air, and regular moisture. Foliage can be fine-textured or thick and comes in greens, silvers, pinks, and reds. Leaves often blush before tiny flowers appear in purples, pinks, or reds. In the wild, air plants grow on trees and rocks, absorbing moisture through their leaves. The romantic Spanish moss that hangs from the branches of live oaks in the Coastal South is actually an air plant. Because they need no soil, these textural beauties are great for easy-care terrariums dressed up with aquarium gravel, shells, or pebbles. You can also mount air plants on cork bark or driftwood. Or create a modern look by hanging plants in clear glass globes. (For a great selection of terrarium supplies, visit shopterrain.com.)

Fill Up a Bowl with Air Plants
Gather several different air plants in one bowl to create a tiny container garden brimming with plants. Select different textures and colors to add a lot of interest in one spot. Place the bowl near a window or sink to allow for easy watering. You can even use a bell jar to cover the bowl. This shows off your handiwork and also increases the humidity, which the plants will appreciate.

How To Grow Air Plants
Air plants like bright, indirect light. Water about once a week by pouring filtered or bottled water over their leaves and shaking away any excess.

Where To Buy Air Plants
You can look for air plants at your local nursery or order online from airplantsupplyco.com or air-plants.com.

Air Plant Container Recipe
1. Hexagon terrarium; available from lampsplus.com  
2. Red air plant (Tillandsia abdita)
3. Spanish moss (T. usneoides)